Monday, April 21, 2008

The Madam's Curious Constitution

The best laugh-line at Saturday's Watauga County Democratic Party's convention was delivered by County Commission Chair Jim Deal. Holding up an article clipped from the High Country Press, Jim Deal observed, "Virginia Foxx thinks the 16th Amendment is unconstitutional."

He paused a beat while that sunk in.

"How is part of the Constitution 'unconstitutional'?" he asked, rhetorically.

He then observed, in praising both our state Sen. Steve Goss and our state Rep. Cullie Tarleton, that although we have had elected representatives from Watauga in the state legislature, we've had no representation, and that opinion certainly covered Madam Foxx's chair-warming tenure in the state Senate.

A Small Dose of History
The 16th Amendment:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

The 16th Amendment was advocated by the Socialist Labor Party in 1887, and before you start hyperventilating with "I told you so!" it was the Republican President Howard Taft who asked Congress to pass the measure in 1909. It was passed by the Congress and submitted for ratification to the states on July 12, 1909. According to Wikipedia, support for the income tax was strongest in the western states, and opposition was strongest in the northeastern states. It was ratified on February 25, 1913, by the required 3/4ths of all the states. The North Carolina legislature ratified the 16th Amendment on February 11, 1911.

And Jim Deal's right: it's more than just funny that Madam Virginia Foxx doesn't seem to understand what "ratification" means.

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